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How to look after your solid wood desk top

Our solid wood desk tops, monitor stands and shelving are by their very nature robust and hardwearing. That said, your product’s potential lifespan is huge, so considering its maintenance is time well spent, paying dividends in years to come. For the purpose of this article, let’s focus on desk tops, but the same principles are true of any solid wood furniture.

Article Summary

  1. Preventing damage to your desk top
  2. Cleaning and maintaining your top
  3. Our professional maintenance support
  4. Upgrade your desk top from MDF to solid wood

Prevent damage to your desk top – “The best offence is a good defence”

Protecting the table top from damage should be a priority. Damage can come from: liquid, heat, UV or weight.

Water Resistance

All our tops are finished with either Danish/finishing oil (oak and walnut) or wax (pine). Both these products add a measure of water resistance to your desk top due to their natural properties.

However, our tops are not water proof. To water proof a top would require an additional product like polyurethane or similar. There are many such products, with differing sheen and textures. All of which will take your wood top further from its natural colour and feel, but could be the right choice for you. We do not apply any such finish as standard, but can discuss with you the various options on request.

How to defend against liquid damage?

  • Always use coasters.
  • Do not use plant pots with holes in the bottom.
  • Ensure your hands are dry.
  • Our standard finishes are not particularly suitable for use as dining tables etc, please contact us to discuss alternate finishes for added protection.
  • How to repair a liquid a stain?

Heat Resistance

All our wood is kiln dried at source. By the time we start working with the oak, pine or walnut, it already has the perfect moisture content, meaning there should be little/no movement when it reaches your home.

However, our tops do have moisture content. This is normal, no wood is kiln dried to a 0% moisture content, and so it is important to note that at very high temperatures, your ‘living wood’ table top could loose this moisture, leading to movement and/or cracking in the top.

How to defend against heat damage?

  • Do not place your desk directly over a radiator.
  • Do not frequently expose your desk top to extreme high and low temperatures.
  • Do not over tighten the wood screws when fitting the desk top to your desk frame.
  • Drill small pilot holes before inserting the self tapping screws (optional).
  • Apply beeswax to the desk to lock in moisture (optional).
  • Contact us to discuss fixing a crack.

UV Resistance

Our oak and walnut desk tops are finished with finishing oil. Finishing oils include UV filters/light inhibitors to prevent sunlight from bleaching your desk top.

However, excessive and direct exposure to sunlight over a long period of time will affect the colour of your desk top. This could leave a noticeable colour difference to the finish of your top if only part of the desk is exposed, though it will not damage the integrity of the solid wood.

How to defend against UV damage?

  • Avoid positioning your desk in such a way that it absorbs uneven direct sun light for long periods of time.
  • Your desk top should only be used indoors.
  • Top up the finish from time to time.
  • Add a specific UV resistant finish on top if concerned.
  • How to re-finish a light bleached desk top?

Uneven load damage

Your solid wood desk top can take more weight and pressure than any MDF/MFC table top. It is great for use with camera clamps and monitor mounts, generally you would be more concerned about the frame’s capacity for load than your desk top.

However, extreme load, unevenly placed and unsupported could affect your top. If your frame does not provide adequate support for the top, a heavy weighted object could cause a bend, or movement on a join (i.e. with an L shaped top, if the frame does not support the return) over time.

How to defend against weight damage?

  • Make sure the frame adequately supports the desk top.
  • Do not fit an L shaped top on a standard desk frame.
  • Make sure very heavy objects are placed centrally, or evenly on the desk top.
  • Contact us to discuss fixing a warped top.

Cleaning and maintaining your top – “The best-laid plans of mice and men”

Even if you follow all the above guidelines, chances are at some point things will go awry! Spills, children, water leaks, even hand gestures can leave you in need of having to perform some level of maintenance. How can you regularly clean, repair a water stain or re-finish your desk top?

Regular cleaning

Do not use chemicals, sprays, furniture polish or any ‘old wives tale’ tips to clean your top.

In order to protect your solid oak top’s danish oil finish, regular and general cleaning should be with a microfibre cloth, no liquid or chemicals. If absolutely necessary, a barely damp cloth with a tiny amount of clear washing up liquid should get rid of anything sticky. Once the spot is cleaned, wipe the area dry with another microfibre cloth.

Repairing minor stains

If ever you stain or damage the top due to spillage etc, you can sand back the affected area with a fine grade sand paper, then re-apply a small amount of finishing oil to get the top back to its former glory. You can do this as many times as needed throughout its life.

We use very high quality Mylands Wood Finishing Oil (as pictured), which can be readily purchased in small tins, complete with instructions, for exactly this purpose. We can also source and dispatch these tins on request, along with fine grade sand paper etc.

For teak finished tops, we use a teak oil. You can use Liberon Teak Oil in the same way as described above.

Our blog post ‘How to repair a water damaged area on your solid wood desk top’ discusses this technique in more detail, and our Standard Oil Finish Repair Kit can get you set up with everything you need.

NOTE: Tops with a darker stain finish are harder to repair in this way later on, as the colour stain could need to be recreated. Our standard finish makes it super easy to keep your top looking as good as new for years to come.

Re-finish your desk top

If the top sustains major damage it might be necessary to re-finish the top. We re-finish tops within about 15 minutes, so repairing major damage does not mean major work.

Using fine grade sand paper, sand back the whole top evenly until you have reached the natural colour of the wood. For deep stains you may need to apply extra pressure and sand back deeper, try and keep your sanding motion as even possible. Once sanded, evenly apply the desired finish again. Leave the finish to dry for as long as is recommended.

Our professional maintenance support – “Where there’s a will there’s a way”

Never fear, regardless of how badly your top is damage, a professional can always get it back to looking as good as new.

Our telephone support and weekly UK wide delivery runs mean we are never far away. We can perform on site visits to help restore your top, or we can take it back to our workshop for more involved repairs. We guarantee our tops against splits and cracks, meaning we will replace your entire top if it is deemed necessary.

Upgrade your desk top from MDF to solid wood

Before you think too much about cleaning and maintenance, make sure you have your solid wood table top, monitor stand and/or shelves on order! Take a look at some of our desk tops below, or our full range here.

Why Solid Wood Tops?

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